Rail Week Ending 28July2012: No Growth Year-over-Year

August 2nd, 2012
in econ_news, syndication

Econintersect: Week 30 of 2012 ending 28 July 2012 shows same week total rail traffic was unchanged over 2011 levels according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR). The carload portion of rail traffic showed same week traffic contracted at 1.5%.

Excluding coal and grain which is not an economic indicator, rail carloads expanded a marginal 1.1% (last week 0.1%) same week year-over-year.

“Eight of the 20 commodity categories tracked by the AAR saw carload gains in July 2012 compared with July 2011, including: petroleum and petroleum products, up 13,368 carloads, or 47.2 percent; motor vehicles and parts, up 9,317 carloads or 23.3 percent, and food products, up 2,297 carloads or 9.9 percent.

Follow up:

Monthly carloads excluding coal and grain were up 8,018 carloads or 1.4 percent compared with July of last year. Commodity categories with declines in July 2012 were led by coal, down 7,945 carloads, or 1.7 percent compared with July 2011, grain, down 7,860 carloads, or 10 percent and metallic ores, down 6,182 carloads, or 16.2 percent.

A good background article on the switch of the power generating plants from coal to natural gas was published 30May2012 in the NYT. The week before GEI News had reported on the decline in coal usage over the past year. For background why Econintersect added grain, please see June 2012 Rail Movements: A Good Month.

The majority of the reason for rail year-to-date contraction is coal and grain movements - which would only effect the profitability of railroads, and not an economic indicator as coal is an alternative fuel to oil and natural gas - U.S. production of those are up sharply in recent months.


This Week
Carloads Intermodal Total
This week Year-over-Year -1.5% 4.1% 0.0%
This week without coal and grain
Year Cumulative to Date -2.6% 3.6% -1.7%


Current Rail Chart


Total (cumulative) year-to-date traffic is contracting year-over-year.

Steven Hansen

Source: AAR

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